Saturday, September 22, 2007

This weekend is Yom Kippur and the end of summer.

I think Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur should be reversed. We should ask for forgiveness, atone for our sins and then have a happy holiday celebrating the New Year. Even with "It is written and then it is sealed," the happy then sad doesn't seem like the right order.

When I was going to High Holiday services growing up, we would always sit in the same place and the same people sat around us in their usual seats. There was no assigned seating. Either Papa Teddy or I would be ready first and then we'd drive separately and get there early and spread out over 3 seats if it was just us or 4 seats if Aunt Jen was in town. Tallis bags are good for saving seats.

Those seats were a few rows from the front to the left side of the bima - or the Churchill High School auditorium stage as I normally knew it.

We always sat next to Mr. Kahn, who lived across the street from us on Ivymount Terrace. His wife wasn't Jewish so he'd come all by himself. He was part of our family for those services.

Aunt Jen would sometimes come in to town and read Torah or Jonah Haftorah. I was always proud to see her up there in front of the whole congregation doing such a great job. She is now helping me with the portion I am going to read at Hannah's Bat Mitzvah.

I am pretty sure I told you about the one time that I had appendicitis on Yom Kippur. Everyone still came over for break the fast at our house even though we were at Suburban Hospital. The best thing was they were able to put me straight into surgery 'cause I didn't have anything in my stomach.

Grandma and I used to stay at shul for the entire day on Yom Kippur. We wouldn't leave. We both really enjoyed the discussion group that they would have between the musaf service and mincha. Not going home made the fast much easier.

I've been thinking a lot about Grandma and you this holiday. I miss you both so much. Today, as I was saying the Mourner's Kaddish during the Yizkor service, who should walk down the steps right next to where I was standing... Ari. That was something.

Your brothers aren't much for sitting around during services. Actually, they spend all their time running around the halls of the synagogue with their friends. I cannot wait for the day when they sit next to me and Mom and I can put my tallis over their shoulders or hold their hands. I loved sitting with my family at Har Shalom. Sitting with everyone makes you feel really close and connected. I miss that.

And I think I have also told you how my other favorite thing around now is crushing acorns. The High Holidays are one of the very few times that I wear shoes with hard soles and heels. The acorns of Cleveland Park don't stand a chance. When I was walking home after services today trying to stomp every acorn in my path, a guy said to me, "Still a kid, huh."

Here is a picture - from a satellite - of a oak tree that grew from an acorn I planted in our yard in Bethesda when I was Jack and Joe's age. I should drive by sometime and get a better photo to show you just how big it is. It is pretty massive.

Remember I told you about the bird that flew into our car last High Holidays. This is definitely a special time of year.

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